BOSTON — Peres Jepchirchir celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Boston Marathon women’s division by winning a seesaw sprint down Boylston Street on Monday as the race returned to its traditional Patriots’ Day spot in the schedule for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Running shoulder to shoulder for most of the course, the reigning Olympic champion and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh traded places eight times in the final mile, with Jepchirchir pulling ahead for good in the final 385 yards. The Kenyan runner finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes, 1 seconds — four seconds ahead of Yeshaneh.
Kenya’s Evans Chebet pulled away with about 4 miles to go to win the men’s race in 2:06:51, 30 seconds ahead of Gabriel Geay of Tanzania. Defending champion Benson Kipruto was third.
Sharing a weekend with the Red Sox home opener — the city’s other sporting rite of spring — more than 28,000 runners returned to the streets from Hopkinton to Copley Square six months after a smaller and socially distanced event that was the only fall race in its 126-year history.
The 125th race was first postponed, then called off because of the pandemic — the first cancellation since the event began in 1897. In 2021, it was postponed until October.
This year’s race marked the 50th anniversary of Nina Kuscsik’s victory as the first official women’s winner. (The actual first woman to finish the race was Bobbi Gibb, who first ran in 1966 among the unofficial runners known as bandits.)
Valerie Rogosheske, who finished sixth in 1972, said she had been planning to hide in the bushes and run as a bandit before women got the go-ahead a few weeks before the race. She is running this year with her daughters, and served as the honorary starter for the women’s elite field.
“There was just this feeling of, ‘Boy, we’re going to do this. No one can drop out. There are eyes upon us,'” she said at the starting line on Monday. “Many people didn’t think we should be running a marathon. So that’s why we really felt that pressure but opportunity as well to finish this marathon.”
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